Russell beats Verstappen in dead heat for F1 Canadian GP pole
Sun 09, Jun, 2024
Source: The Race

George Russell took pole position for the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix with an identical laptime to Max Verstappen – while Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1 and both Ferraris were knocked out in Q2.

Light rain briefly peppered the track for Q1, while considerable wind blew across Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, making for tricky conditions as the field emerged.

The fight for pole position was considered to be open ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon after McLaren’s Lando Norris topped FP1, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso led FP2, and Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton led FP3,

Sergio Perez was the shock exit from Q1. The Red Bull driver, who was recently rewarded with a contract extension, couldn’t put down a competitive flying lap and ended up being eliminated in 16th – as were both Sauber drivers, Esteban Ocon, and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg. Perez’s team-mate Verstappen meanwhile went fastest in Q1.

The drizzle stayed away for most of Q1 and briefly threatened Q2 – which was largely dry. Neither Ferrari driver managed to keep up with the pace and Charles Leclerc was eliminated in 11th ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz, while George Russell led the session ahead of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.

The clouds loomed in Q3 but drivers emerged on used soft tyres to make use of the dry conditions – and the Mercedes drivers led after their first forays.

The field then fitted new soft tyres for their final flying runs yet nobody could eclipse Russell’s polesetting time. Verstappen however equalled it with a final run of 1m12.000s and will start second on the grid.

McLaren opted for its drivers to do two flying laps – bookended by cooldown and warmup laps – at the end of the session to maximise tyre warmup and track position. Lando Norris qualified third ahead of Oscar Piastri. 

RB’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest overall ahead of FP3 leader Alonso. The other RB of Yuki Tsunoda, who will remain at the team in 2025, was seventh, and Hamilton finished eighth overall despite starring in Q2. Home driver Lance Stroll qualified ninth overall as Aston Martin showed renewed pace in Canada.

Alex Albon was hampered by a crossthreaded wheelnut in Q2, but he emerged late in the session to go sixth-fastest. He eventually rounded out the top 10.

The other Williams of Logan Sargeant showed signs of pace in Q2 but fell behind the Ferraris to 13th. That is, however, the Williams driver’s best qualifying performance of the season so far. The American driver qualified ahead of Haas’s Kevin Magnussen and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in the second segment of qualifying. 

Valtteri Bottas suffered his third-straight Q1 elimination in 17th. 

Outgoing Alpine driver Esteban Ocon carried over a five-place grid penalty from Monaco and will start at the back of the field for Alpine despite having finished 18th in Q1.

That penalty will promote Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu up to 19th and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg to 18th.